The Business Year

Erdem Çakar

- Finance

Erdem Çakar

Country Manager, Qatar and Kuwait, Mastercard

Bio

In Qatar, Mastercard is a technology enabler of choice helping to connect government entities, digital e-tailers, telcos, and fintechs to accelerate digital payments and a cashless economy.

What would be your assessment on Mastercard’s position in Qatar’s highly competitive and diverse financial sector?

In an evolving digital financial services ecosystem, Mastercard is a technology enabler of choice that connects government entities, digital e-tailers, telcos and fintechs to accelerate Qatar’s adoption of digital payments and fast-tracking its cashless economy. We provide technology solutions, platforms and propositions that enable a superior digital experience for consumers across the Middle East and North Africa, in addition to driving greater financial inclusion for these populations. In Qatar, we are collaborating with multiple partners in the ecosystem, which is a testament to our commitment of catering to Qatari businesses of all sizes and driving digital transformation in the country. We have been focused on helping both corporates and SMEs by giving them innovative products and payments solutions that enable them to scale and grow, powered by Mastercard’s technology and Payment Gateway Services. Most recently, we launched Apple Pay with our partner banks to cardholders therefore providing a safe, secure, and fast way to pay. Apple Pay helps customers avoid handing their payment card to someone else, touching physical buttons or exchanging cash. We will continue to leverage our innovative Mastercard Digital Enablement Service (MDES) for more mobile payment opportunities in order to provide additional peace of mind and security alike for every transaction process though our network. This rollout supported the country’s efforts to develop digitization initiatives, enabled merchant success and accelerated the adoption of high-security digital payments, and is aligned with the Qatari national vision 2030 and digital transformation journey.

The payments industry has gone through a recent transformational digital process. Which actions have you taken to best cater to an increasingly digital population in Qatar?

Qatar’s population is digitally savvy and increasingly embracing omni-channel payment technologies. Because of its fast, secure, and touch-free experience, contactless technology was a recent digital catalyst for exploring new digital payment methods, spurred by the pandemic. More than 100 markets saw contactless as a share of total in-person transactions climb by at least 50% between 1Q2020 and the same period in 2021, and contactless continues to prove its vitality. We have taken the opportunity to launch and roll out new products that are boosting digital payments amongst businesses and consumers, including initiatives and products within the e-commerce space. As example, Click to Pay is a next generation e-commerce technology that makes it easy and safer for consumers to instantly check out without the need to enter their card credentials every time or to store this sensitive information with different merchants. Powered by tokenization, Click to Pay reduces fraud risk, with a potential for higher approval rates and fewer abandoned shopping carts. The new solution simplifies the online checkout experience by replacing the manual entry of personal account numbers and information at checkout. Consumers benefit from a seamless digital checkout button that keeps the underlying card on file data protected by industry standard security.

What can we expect in terms of payments innovation to be implemented in Qatar and brought about by Mastercard?

We will continue to join hands with our partners to ensure that consumers and businesses in Qatar have access to the last, most innovative, and most intuitive payment solutions. We always develop these to meet the changing needs of the market. There’s Mastercard Tap on Phone for example – an innovative technology and cost-effective application which allows merchants to accept electronic payments directly on their smartphone or tablet. Once downloaded, businesses can immediately offer it to their customers, providing consumers with a flexible, seamless, intuitive, and secure checkout experience. Tap on Phone turns Android smartphones into secure payment acceptance devices for contactless cards, mobile wallets, and smartwatches with no additional equipment or setup-related costs, making it ideal for SMEs. Our Mastercard Digital First program is another initiative to look forward to—it offers consumers the ease of applying online, instant digital card issuance, real-time card management and secure, straightforward online payments.

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